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Mother Sues for Right to Stop Teen's Gender Transition

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTSOBUG

A Minnesota woman who reportedly didn’t report her son as a runaway even though he was gone from home for six months has filed suit against him to stop the 17-year-old from becoming a girl, and several government agencies for helping him on that gender-switching journey.

“It was brought to my knowledge that my son began receiving hormone replacement treatments from Park Nicollet Health Services to transition from male to female, with medical assistance paying for this,” Anmarie Calgaro told reporters in a St. Paul, Minn., courtroom. “I was not consulted or informed about this in any way.”

The lawsuit filed Nov. 16 challenges a Minnesota law that allows minors to get medical care without the consent of their parents even though the state does not have an emancipation process for children who want to break away from mom and dad.

“Clearly, Anmarie’s God-given and constitutionally protected parental rights have been violated,” Michele Lentz of the Minnesota Child Protection League said. “And her responsibilities to care for her son’s physical and emotional health and safety have been blocked by the actions of these agencies and services. She has been denied the chance to plead her case in court.”

Calgaro’s attorney, Erick Kaardal, said the teenager is going from “boy to girl without (his mother’s) consent and without court order.”

Calgaro is also being represented by the Thomas More Society, a law firm that has made a name for itself by representing anti-abortion activists.

“This is an outrageous abuse of power by multiple agencies,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society. “To treat a minor child without either parental consent or a court order of emancipation is a violation of the trust placed upon the human service sector and its governmental oversight agencies. To give a parent no recourse to intervene in this situation is an egregious violation of constitutional rights.”

Her lawsuit named two medical service providers as co-defendants, charging they provided the teenager medical treatment for a sex change from male to female and for prescribed narcotics. The medical services and drugs were paid for through St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services.

The St. Louis County school district is also named as a co-defendant because, the suit claimed, the boy was treated as an emancipated minor even though no legal action was ever taken to terminate Calgaro’s parental rights.

“The news that county agencies and health service providers, the school and other county and state offices were completely bypassing me came as a total shock,” Calgaro said while beginning to cry. “Why wasn’t I even notified?”

Here’s why: Minnesota Statute 114.341 does state that any child living away from home, and managing his or her own finances, “may give effective consent to personal medical, dental, and other health services, and the consent of no other person is required.”

Kaardal said Calgaro’s suit claims that law is unconstitutional because it violates parental rights.

The boy’s two petitions for a name change were both denied by the St. Louis County District Court because of the “lack of any adjudication relative to emancipation.”

Ms. Calgaro went to court to block one of the petitions for a name change.

Phil Duran, legal director for OutFront Minnesota, told NBC OUT he can’t figure out what Calgaro wants out of her lawsuit since her son, who wants to be her daughter, was never legally emancipated.

“I think mom is grasping at straws,” Duran said, “and trying to construe the kid’s decision as a state-imposed violation of her constitutional rights.”

Calgaro said her case is about more than a mom trying to stop her son from doing something as drastic as changing genders.

“I’m also taking this action for the benefit of all parents and families, who may be facing the same violation of their rights—so that they and others in the future may be spared from the same tragic events,” she said.

State Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R), who stood at Calgaro’s side during the press conference in St. Paul, told reporters he planned to introduce legislation to make sure no other Minnesota mother has to worry about her children flipping the gender switch.

“I am deeply concerned when I see state agencies, healthcare services and other organizations undermine parental authority,” Gruenhagen said.